God answers prayers.
It's a pretty cool deal actually.
When I walk I try to pray. But most of the time it seems I get too busy starring at the sidewalk, or where it should be underneath all the ice, while listening to some punk or folk music that totally distracts my thoughts, or at least allows me to enter that absent minded state where our brains can check out. This time I kept my thoughts captive and asked God to teach me specific how to love more purely.
Then I walk into the doors of where I work and began my day. I worked hard, it passed quickly. Then I coordinated our weekly French Press seminar addressing the issue of Fair Trade and social responsibility. Then I went home. Simple. Nothing more or less then the normal day of work. Then I found myself in the basement listening and reading the words of an ordinary man Rob Bell who just happens to have been able to highlight beauty in the ordinary and be able to point it out so that others can see it as well. I soaked that in. I'm still processing a lot of what I read tonight. But I know God intended for these words to have brought to me today in answer to my request and now a journey begins.
Praise the Lord that He believes in us even when we fail to believe in ourselves.
What does it mean to truly love? Love, I believe is what we are called to do first and foremost. God is love. Jesus is God. We are called to follow Jesus. We are called to take on the yoke of love, to be love, to be like Jesus. And so we begin to consider what is loving in situations throughout our day.
Example from last week, between classes chilling at a coffee shop. Reading some book on what chruches should look like or some-such and then I begin to look around the room and see a table to my right, two men, discussing discipleship. Then I look to my left and there is a table of 6 men talking about their church, I think they were a ministry meeting. Then I look in front of me and it's a woman sitting alone reading a Christian magazine. Then I look to the far side of the room and I see a professor reading a big theology text. And it goes on and on. I say nobody in there reading a great piece of literature, nobody telling a story to a friend about their childhood, no dating couples talking about their love, no old women sharing recipes. None of it. Just religious discussions in a coffee shop. And this is what it seems like all the time. Christian talk everywhere. It's inescapable. And that day I had a mini-panic attack being surrounded by Christian talk. My thinking through my experiences tells me that talk is cheap.
What sparked the prayer today, what got me to look up rather than down was a license plate on a Mercedes that was customized to read, "THE WORD." This can be interpreted many different ways. I thought of two and neither is loving. The more loving of the two is a memory of a joke that I think Mike tells about college kids naming their bed, "the word" so they can sound spiritual saying they are off to spend time in "the word." In this case meaning I'm going to go off to my expensive SUV. I bet you can figure out what my less loving interpretation was on your own.
Where does this frustration (mask for the anger underneath) come from and how can I get rid of it? And so I prayed. I am now going to make a conscientious effort to see beauty in more things. For instance the fact that now because of the Mercedes people will see "THE WORD" and maybe wonder about it and maybe think I should read the Bible or maybe somehow this license will produce fruit. And maybe it is a miracle that the owner of this vehicle know about "THE WORD." From my experience reading the word I get the feeling that now many people with money figure out what it means. So maybe I should rejoice that people with money can move toward Christ. I look all over Wheaton and other suberbs and I should be rejoicing a lot because rich people do know Christ.
However this is not how I normally think. This is not how I normally interpret the world around me. And so I'm learning the way of love. There is not distinction in love of who does it better. And what process of love is more acceptable. If love is given than the receiver is receiving love. There is no formula for the one right way to love. My way to love is no better than your way. Love is love. My problem now with love is I haven't let it heal or transform all of me.
And again I say, I am beginning a new adventure right now.